Amy: Tell me what you think.
Erica: I see my mom. I see my mom’s car. I see my dad’s truck. I see trees. I see you.
Amy: You’ve told me before that this is one of your favorites. Why do you like it?
Erica: I don’t know. I can see you taking a picture of me.
Amy: Do you like it when I take pictures of you?
Erica: I don’t know.
Amy: How does it make you feel?
Erica: That’s all (shrugs shoulders). I’m done talking.
When my mother gave birth to my half-sister Erica, I was 20 years old. Sitting in the hospital room with my camera, she made giving birth look easy. I photographed as Erica made her way into the world, cut her umbilical cord myself, and was the very first to hold her. In that moment, I gave her a name she inevitably didn’t get to keep. And she peed on me.
Ever since, having a much younger sibling has given me the unique experience of observing the way in which I may have been raised. Photographing Erica has become a window into my own elusive childhood.—Amy Powell
Growing up in a struggling middle class family from the suburbs, Ohio native Amy Powell uses photography to create a telling narrative of her close, personal relationships. The oldest of four children, Powell’s series Erica & I is a poignant chronicle featuring her younger sister as subject and muse. A mixture of wistful photos and playful exchanges, we examine Erica’s world; try to dissect her many thoughts. Gazing at the past through her lens, Powell looks to childhood to answer questions unknown and explore adult fears never reconciled.